Family LawSpousal Support

Eligibility and Duration

Family Law - Spousal Support

Definition and Purpose of Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is money paid by one spouse to the other to help them meet their needs or to compensate them for sacrificing their own career or financial well-being during the relationship. Not everyone leaving a relationship is entitled to receive spousal support and many factors are involved including, but not limited to, whether or not there are any children, how long the parties lived together, the present financial circumstances of the spouses and the amount of property to be divided between the parties. 

Factors Influencing Spousal Support Entitlement

Spousal support is available for spouses who were married and also those who were in common-law relationships. Before someone can receive spousal support they must show that they are entitled to receive it. Short-term relationships without children often lead to no spousal support entitlement. However, if children are involved, even shorter relationships could result in spousal support. Typically a spouse who stayed home with the children and sacrificed educational or career advancement as a result will be entitled to receive spousal support. Each case however is different and therefore must be assessed individually.

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines serve as a valuable reference for determining appropriate spousal support amounts. While not legally binding, these guidelines aim to bring consistency and predictability to spousal support decisions. They offer a range for potential support amounts, which can fluctuate based on various factors. For instance, an individual with a substantial family property settlement might receive support at the lower end of the range, while someone over 50 and long-term unemployed may qualify for support at the higher end.

Determining the Duration of Spousal Support Payments

The length of time that spousal support will be paid is also an issue. Where there are no children, the range is between one half year for every year of the relationship and one full year for every year for the relationship. Where there are children, the range may be the length of time it takes the youngest child to enter primary school and the length of time it takes the youngest child to finish high school. The range of time is however also dependent on the circumstances of the parties.

Additional Resources

The Need For Legal Advice

Spousal support is an area of law that is filled with discretion and, quite often, can be resolved through a negotiated settlement. Therefore, legal advice in this area is highly recommended. The family lawyers at Crossroads Law are all highly knowledgeable in this area.

For a FREE initial consultation on spousal support, please reach out to us.

Contact Us to Learn More

In Canada, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) are commonly used to guide the calculation of spousal support, although they are not legally binding. These guidelines aim to make support awards more predictable and consistent.

Yes, it is possible to pay spousal support upfront, known as a lump-sum payment. This method involves paying the entire spousal support obligation in one large payment instead of regular, ongoing payments.

If you're contemplating early retirement and its impact on your spousal support obligations, it's important to understand that courts consider various factors to decide whether support payments should end or be reduced.

Spousal Support

Frequently Asked Questions

matt masked
Support Calculators

Support Calculators

Free Child & Spousal Support Calculators to help you understand what support payments may look like.

Legal Resources

Legal Resources

Unravel the intricacies of family law with insights and commentary from Crossroads Law's distinguished team.

Free Consultation

Free Consultation

Contact us today for a no-charge initial consultation to discuss your family law needs.


Spousal Support Legal Resources

Can I stop paying spousal support when I retire?

A question that often comes up in family law is whether payment of spousal support can end upon retirement. Moving to a fixed income must have an impact on spousal support, right?

What is spousal support entitlement?

One of the most contentious disputes that comes up in family law is around the issue of spousal support – how much am I owed or how much do I have to pay (if anything), and how does it get calculated?

How is spousal support calculated for high-income earners?

Spousal support is a common consideration upon the breakdown of a marriage or cohabitation.